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Southdown Style
Southdown Style
by Glynn Kraemer-Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A First Class Publication, 22 Jun. 2016
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This review is from: Southdown Style (Hardcover)
Produced to Capital Transport's usual high standard, this is a beautifully designed, superbly illustrated and very well-written account of one of Britain's best-loved bus companies. It is not an in-depth history but strikes a good balance between what is likely to appeal to the serious enthusiast and the more general reader. Despite the title, there is not a great deal of discussion about the Southdown 'style'; it is largely left to the reader to determine this from the well-chosen selection of photographs and brochureware. I would have like a bigger and better placed map than the period example included but this is a very minor point. Overall, it is a first class production that can be unreservedly recommended.


DAF at Work: 2800, 3300, 3600 (Trucks at Work)
DAF at Work: 2800, 3300, 3600 (Trucks at Work)
by Patrick W. Dyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written and Nicely Produced, 16 Jun. 2016
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This is a well-written and nicely produced tribute to one of the most iconic trucks of the 1980s. If you are into these trucks, you will probably love this book; otherwise you may find it a little overkill. This is no criticism of the author who delivers exactly what the book promises with passion and knowledge. Whilst essentially a picture book - with one or two pictures per page - it does contain a good amount of text, with a general introduction to DAF and each of the three models featured, and an informative caption for each picture. There is some repetition in the captions, some of which do not relate specifically to the pictures that they accompany. The pictures themselves are generally very good, although the semi-matt paper has not done them any favours. A few are below par - lacking somewhat in resolution - but are perhaps included for rarity value. Most or all of the official DAF photographs have been seen before but rarely with such informative captions. Overall it is a very attractive book and, as with others from this publisher, is supplied shrink-wrapped to ensure that you receive it in first-class condition.


British Lorries of the 40s and 50s
British Lorries of the 40s and 50s
by Peter Davies
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book that has Stood the Test of Time Remarkably Well, 9 May 2016
First published in 1989, this book has stood the test of time remarkably well. Whilst a little dated in terms of design, it is a high quality production on gloss paper with top quality and informatively-captioned photographs, mainly black & white but supported by a fair selection of well-chosen colour views. The author's knowledge and passion shine through. A worthy addition to any road haulage library.


British Lorries of the Sixties
British Lorries of the Sixties
by Peter Davies
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Great content let down slightly by print quality., 9 May 2016
I have most of the books from Peters Davies, whom I regard as the finest writer of road haulage books as well as a very accomplished photographer. This is the only one printed on matt paper and with a slightly disappointing photo reproduction, which suggests that it may be a facsimile reprint. Were it not for this, I would have almost certainly awarded it five stars. The actual content is first class and, in this respect, I endorse the comments of previous reviewers. Despite my reservations on print quality, this is nonetheless a worthwhile purchase and an essential addition to a an exceptional series of books.


UK Light Rail and Tram Museum Guide 2016 (Fourth Edition)
UK Light Rail and Tram Museum Guide 2016 (Fourth Edition)
by James Millington
Edition: Perfect Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars High Quality, Excellent Value, 6 April 2016
This is the fourth edition of what has become an annual title but, in many respects, it is a brand new publication - expanded in both size and subject matter and with an entirely new selection of photos. Crucially - for some of us - it is easier on the eye with a larger font and bigger maps. Overall, the design and production - on quality, heavy-weight glossy paper - are excellent and the following observations are of a very minor nature.

Whilst the maps are described as 'a rough guide', it is confusing to find Manchester re-oriented (with the airport appearing to be north of the city centre) without an indicative compass; also, the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum appears to have been curiously re-located to Mid-Ulster. By comparison with earlier editions, the historical background to some of the systems and museum lines has been significantly compressed - understandable given the expanded coverage but it has been done in an inconsistent way, such that some systems and museum lines are covered in more depth than others. This could have been avoided by ditching the section title pages, which are superfluous given the colour-coded running heads. It would be more correct to list the Tyne & Wear Metro operator as 'DB Regio under contract to Nexus', as the latter does not itself directly operate the system. Also in referencing good places for phototography, it would be prudent to mention that photography is forbidden on the Tyne & wear Metro without prior written permission.

As I said , these are very minor points. which the publisher may wish to take into account next time round. Overall, I am very pleased with the publication and have no hesitation in recommending it to others.


Trucks in the 1980s: The Photos of David Wakefield
Trucks in the 1980s: The Photos of David Wakefield
by Nick Ireland
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars A good product at a fair price but page layout and image quality could have been better, 3 Feb. 2016
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as the previous 'reviews' weren't particularly helpful. The attractive cover design raised expectations that were possibly in excess of what the book actually delivers. The page layout and design are disappointing - two smallish 13 x 9cm images per page in an unimaginative and highly repetitive layout. Given the landscape format, I had hoped for a some full-page images but perhaps the images weren't up to it? Whilst I can't be certain, they seem to be scans from prints, rather than original negatives or slides - an impression reinforced in the text by reference to "thousands of photos packed away in a cupboard". In fairness, I'm not hugely surprised but this is not a Peter Davies production. That said, it is probably good enough for enthusiasts to froth over. The captions are generally informative, even if, in at least one case, there is no mention of the vehicle in the accompanying photo. There are nine chapters, arranged fairly predictably by body type (flat bodies, fridges and boxes etc) but without any introductory text. The book doesn't tell any story - it doesn't claim to - it simply paints a picture of the 1980s trucking scene from one man's perspective. Overall, it is a good - if not outstanding - product at a fair price.


The Colours of Yesterday's Trolleybuses
The Colours of Yesterday's Trolleybuses
by Michael Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £40.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Expensive but a Lot of Book for Your Money, 1 Feb. 2016
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This is a great book, albeit a little expensive. You do get a lot of book for your money but will probably need to be very passionate about trolleybuses to justify the spend (or, like myself, have an Amazon voucher nearing its expiry date). It is more than a picture book. There is a copious amount of text, with very extensive captions below each image and a full-page introduction to each system. Basic maps are provided for some system but not for others - most significantly, there is no map of the London system. But, of course, it is in the pictures that the book excels. Given the age of the material, some of its is understandably not of the best quality but there was nothing that I thought ought not be there. The photo restorer has done an excellent job in re-introducing colour to faded images; even though it is often obvious to the trained eye which images have been so treated, the average reader should be well satisfied with the results. The reproduction on good quality glossy paper is first class. If it were possible to award four and a half points, I would have done so - it's not quite perfect but very close to it.


Phantom Boys: True Tales from UK Operators of the McDonnell Douglas F-4
Phantom Boys: True Tales from UK Operators of the McDonnell Douglas F-4
by Richard Pike
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been better, 27 Dec. 2015
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There is a tendency in this book, and in the author's previous book on the Lightening, for contributors to begin a tale and then very quickly regress to reminiscences of earlier events - some relevant and others not - before returning to what frequently transpires to be a fairly weak plot. At one point we are taken to a lengthy and virtually word-for-word extract from the aforementioned Lightening book; indeed, at times, the book felt more like a further Lightening volume and I could not help wondering whether this was down to poor editing or a desire to fill the pages. Like the Lightening book, this volume seems to be a random selection of contributions without any logical sequence or structure. I didn't learn a great deal about the aircraft. True, this is not the aim of the book, but an introductory chapter covering the Lightening and its 'fit' within British military aviation history would have been most welcome and more useful than aforementioned recycled material. Despite being sub-titled 'tales from UK operators', only the RAF perspective seems to have been represented, albeit including the experiences of RAF personnel seconded to the RNAS. The brief account of Falklands operations was also rather disappointing. These criticisms aside, it is not all bad - indeed much of it is very good - and it is a worthwhile addition to my modest collection of aviation titles.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2016 7:19 PM GMT


The Lightning Boys: True Tales from Pilots of the English Electric Lightning
The Lightning Boys: True Tales from Pilots of the English Electric Lightning
by Richard Pike
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 26 Dec. 2015
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I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and award this five stars. It was a good read but that is a basic expectation. By comparison with other books in the series, the individual contributions seemed shorter, which is not necessarily a bad thing as there were more of them and it made the book easier to dip into. But there was no obvious sequence or structure. It seemed more of a random compilation without any linking narrative, perhaps because there was nothing more to say - a couple of contributions lacked any real substance. Against this, there were many well-written, entertaining and informative chapters. It is just a pity that it had to be padded-out with tales of Canadian prostitutes and other extraneous material. Overall, it was a worthwhile read but I will not be rushing to buy the second volume.


Victor Boys: True Stories from 40 Memorable Years of the Last V Bomber
Victor Boys: True Stories from 40 Memorable Years of the Last V Bomber
by Tony Blackman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly recommended, 4 Dec. 2015
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This is possibly the best of the three V-bomber books in the 'Boys' series. Tightly written, without the extraneous material in some of the other Boys books, it held my attention as a non-technical general reader very well. The co-authors have done an excellent job in narrating the reader through the individual contributions so that the complete work provides a coherent and gripping account of the complete life of this remarkable aircraft. The comprehensive colour sections are reproduced to a good standard and there are additional B&W illustrations within the text. Overall, a first-class production.


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